No. 355 Squadron RAF


No. 355 Squadron RAF was a long-range bomber squadron based in British India from August 1943 until it disbanded in May 1946. Raised for service during the Second World War, the squadron was equipped with Consolidated Liberator aircraft and carried out operations against the Japanese during the Burma campaign.

No. 355 Squadron RAF
355 Squadron Liberation Burma (AWM image SEA0010).JPG
355 Squadron personnel, November 1944
Active18 August 1943 – 31 May 1946
CountryUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
BranchAir Force Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Royal Air Force
Motto(s)Latin: Liberamus Per Caerula
(Translation: "We liberate through tropical skies")[1][2]
Squadron Badge heraldryAn elephant's head affronté[1][2]
Aircraft flown
BomberConsolidated Liberator


The squadron was formed at Salbani, Bengal, British India on 18 August 1943, and carried out its first bombing mission on 20 November 1943.[3] The squadron mounted numerous raids on the Burma–Siam railway along with other important targets such as bridges, airfields, port facilities, supply dumps, gun positions, and marshalling yards.[4][5] During this period, the squadron included a significant number of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) aircrew personnel, attached to it under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.[6][7]

Wing Commander James Brindley Nicolson, recipient of the only Victoria Cross awarded during the Battle of Britain, was killed 2 May 1945, when the 355 Squadron Liberator he was flying in as an observer, crashed into the Bay of Bengal shortly after an engine caught fire. The last raid carried out by the squadron was on 7 August 1945 against the Burma–Siam railway.[3]

After the war, 355 Squadron dropped emergency food supplies to Prisoners of War, and starving civilians in Burma. Between January and April 1946 the squadron operated from Digri, a little north of Salbani,[8] returning to Salbani (west of Calcutta) where it undertook aerial survey work shortly before it disbanded on 31 May 1946.[4]

Aircraft operatedEdit

Aircraft operated by no. 355 Squadron RAF, data from[2][9][10]
From To Aircraft Version
October 1943 July 1944 Consolidated Liberator Mk.III
March 1944 September 1945 Consolidated Liberator Mk.VI
August 1945 May 1946 Consolidated Liberator Mk.VIII

Squadron basesEdit

Bases and airfields used by no. 355 Squadron RAF, data from[1][2][9][11]
From To Base Remark
18 August 1943 3 January 1946 RAF Salbani, Bengal, British India Dets. at RAF Dhubalia, Bengal; RAF Digri, Bengal and RAF Pegu ('Pilsener'), Burma
3 January 1946 3 April 1946 RAF Digri, Bengal, British India Det. at RAF Pegu, Burma
3 April 1946 31 May 1946 RAF Salbani, Bengal, British India Det. at RAF Pegu, Burma



  1. ^ a b c Moyes 1976, p. 232.
  2. ^ a b c d Halley 1988, p. 385.
  3. ^ a b Moyes 1976, p. 233.
  4. ^ a b "Squadron histories for nos. 353–361 squadron on "Air of Authority – A History of RAF Organisation". Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2019.
  5. ^ Odgers 1968, pp. 414–416, 428–429.
  6. ^ Odgers 1968, pp. 413 & 419.
  7. ^ "Salbani, Bengal, India. 1944-11-24. Group portrait of some of the RAAF and Royal New Zealand Air Force personnel". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  8. ^ Jefford 2001, pp. 270–271.
  9. ^ a b Jefford 2001, p. 90.
  10. ^ Moyes 1976, pp. 232–233.
  11. ^ Jefford 2001, pp. 268–271.


  • Halley, James J. (1988). The Squadrons of the Royal Air Force & Commonwealth 1918–1988. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 0-85130-164-9.
  • Jefford, C.G. (2001) [1988]. RAF Squadrons, a Comprehensive record of the Movement and Equipment of all RAF Squadrons and their Antecedents since 1912 (2nd ed.). Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing. ISBN 1-85310-053-6.
  • Moyes, Philip J.R. (1976) [1964]. Bomber Squadron of the RAF and their Aircraft (2nd ed.). London: Macdonald and Jane's (Publishers) Ltd. ISBN 0-354-01027-1.
  • Odgers, George (1968) [1957]. Volume II – Air War Against Japan 1943–1945. Australia in the War of 1939–1945: Series Three (Air). Canberra: Australian War Memorial. OCLC 246580191.

Further readingEdit

  • Delve, Ken (1994). The Source Book of the RAF. Shrewsbury, Shropshire, UK: Airlife Publishing. ISBN 1-85310-451-5.
  • Gwynne-Timothy, John R.W (1991). Burma Liberators: RCAF in SEAC. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Next Level Press. ISBN 1-895578-02-7.
  • Oughton, James D.; Hamlin, John; Thomas, Andrew (2007). The Liberator in Royal Air Force and Commonwealth Service. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. ISBN 978-0-85130-362-8.

External linksEdit

  • RAF Liberator Squadrons
  • No. 355 Squadron history